Entries tagged with: ben frost

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Avant-garde composer Ben Frost will release his new album, A U R O R A, on May 27. Like his previous work, it's ambient but you'd be hard pressed to call it mellow. There's a lot of tension here, which cracks open into bursts of noise. The record features former Liturgy drummer Greg Fox, Shahzad Ismaily (who both just played Ecstatic Music Fest with Colin Stetson), and Thor Harris of Swans/Shearwater. You can stream "Venter" from the album, as well as an LP trailer, below.

While Ben hasn't announced any A U R O R A performances in North America yet, he does a have a few projects happening on our shores. He contributed sounds to an installation called "Ephemera" that will be on display at NYC's Audio Visual Arts Gallery in the East Village from March 31 - April 6. Part of the Unsound Festival, the project from artist Geza Schoen, also features sonic contributions from Tim Hecker, and Kode9's Steve Goodman:

Bringing together scent and sound in startling new ways, the first phase of Ephemera is an installation that will present olfactory compositions based on musical resonances and reverberations...

...Three musicians -- Ben Frost, Tim Hecker, and Steve Goodman (aka Kode9) -- created sonic raw material which Schoen then reinterpreted to create three different scents: Noise, Drone, and Bass, respectively. Schoen's scents were then used to guide the development of further sounds to fit an installation-style environment.

Ben also provided the music for FAR, which features choreography by Wayne McGregor and jaw-dropping visuals, including a computerized pin board of 3,200 LED lights. FAR will be performed at Pittsburgh's Byham Theatre on April 26 (more info), and at Washington DC's Kennedy Center from May 1 - 3 (more info).

All dates are listed, along with LP trailer and "Venter" stream, below...

Continue reading "Ben Frost releasing 'A U R O R A' (feat. Greg Fox & Thor Harris), contributing to Unsound Fest + more (dates, streams)"

DOWNLOAD: Colin Stetson - "High Above A Grey Green Sea" (MP3)

Colin Stetson w/ Bon Iver at Bonnaroo 2012 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Colin Stetson

As mentioned, sax machine Colin Stetson is set to release a new solo album this year, and since we last spoke, more details on that have been revealed. The album is called New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light and it will be out on April 30 via Constellation. It features guest vocals from Justin Vernon on four tracks (Colin's been a Bon Iver member for a while now) and was mixed by Ben Frost, who also worked on New History Warfare Vol. 2. You can download the avant-garde album track, "High Above A Grey Green Sea," above or stream it below. The album art and tracklist are also below.

Colin will be supporting the album with an extensive international tour which hits NYC on May 8 at Le Poisson Rouge. Tickets for that show are on sale now. Most of the surrounding shows are with past collaborator Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre), but no support has been announced for the LPR show yet.

UPDATE: Neufeld plays LPR too, and Rafiq Bhatia as well.

A list of all dates, song stream, album art and tracklist below...

Continue reading "Colin Stetson releasing new LP (w/ Justin Vernon singing), going on tour (dates, MP3)"

Swans at Music Hall of Williamsburg (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Swans

Swans are back with a new double album, The Seer, due via Young God Records on August 28. The new effort features appearances from Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), former bandmate Jarboe, Bruce Lamont, Ben Frost, members of Akron/Family ( who served with him in Angels of Light) and members of Low. Gira comments:

The Seer took 30 years to make. It's the culmination of every previous Swans album as well as any other music I've ever made, been involved in or imagined. But it's unfinished, like the songs themselves. It's one frame in a reel. The frames blur, blend and will eventually fade.

The songs began on an acoustic guitar, then were fleshed out with (invaluable) help from my friends, then were further tortured and seduced in rehearsals, live and in the studio, and now they await further cannibalism and force-feeding as we prepare to perform some of them live, at which point they'll mutate further, endlessly, or perhaps be discarded for a while.

Despite what you might have heard or presumed, my quest is to spread light and joy through the world. My friends in Swans are all stellar men. Without them I'm a kitten, an infant. Our goal is the same: ecstasy!

While you're waiting for August 28 to roll around, you can check out a trailer for the DVD portion of The Seer and all listed Swans tour dates (Nothing for NYC yet).

Continue reading "Swans releasing 'The Seer,' touring in Sept. (no NYC date)"

Ben Frost at Brooklyn Masonic Temple (more by Greg Cristman)
Ben Frost

After a successful inaugural year, Unsound returns in 2011. As discussed, the ten day festival will take place from April 1st - 10th at multiple venues across New York City with the musical program taking place from April 6th - 10th.

Kicking off April 6th at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, as also discussed Unsound will host Music For Solaris, a multimedia experience that incorporates the Tarkovsky film, Lem's written source material, and music "written for twenty-nine string players, two percussionists, prepared piano, guitars and electronics by Ben Frost (Australia / Iceland) and Daníel Bjarnason (Iceland) in collaboration with one of Poland's leading orchestras, Sinfonietta Cracovia." Brian Eno and Nick Robertson will be on hand for "film manipulations" of the Tarkovsky film.

The next three days will see events with Morton Subotnick, Atom, Lone, Badawi, Kontext, Alan Howarth, Harald Grosskopf, Emeralds, the previously mentioned debut of the new incarnation of Skull Defekts with Daniel Higgs (April 3rd at Littlefield), and so much more.

On April 10th, the festival will close up shop with with three events, one of which will feature the NYC live and dark debut of Lustmord with Void Ov Voices (aka Attila of Mayhem) and Robert Piotrowicz at Abrons Art Center.

More details on Unsound NYC are below.

Continue reading "Unsound 2011 lineup updates (Ben Frost, Brian Eno, Emeralds, Lustmord, Void Ov Voices, Morton Subotnick, Atom & more)"

photos by Greg Cristman, words by BBG

Swans

Michael Gira, Norman Westberg, and the new incarnation of Swans played their first NYC show since reformation at Brooklyn Masonic Temple on Friday night, 10/8. They were joined by tour-mate Baby Dee and recent addition Ben Frost as support. The show was one of two NYC dates on a larger tour for the reactivated post-punk/noise/industrial pioneers (previous shows included Pop Montreal and the Black Cat in DC). Swans played their 2nd NYC show at Bowery Ballroom on Saturday night (sans Ben Frost, avec Baby Dee). Both NYC shows sold out in advance. The Brooklyn gig featured an afterhours party with Sasha Grey, Caleb (Sacred Bones), and DJ JonBenet (Prurient, Cold Cave) on the lower level. That drew its own separate crowd in addition to the post-show revelers.

Ben Frost's opening set was particularly impressive, mixing guitar acrobatics and laptop scientifics that took full use of the considerable soundsystem. It was a fantastic set; I normally have a hard time enduring solo laptop-musician/DJ sets, but watched the entire thing. Unfortunately I missed all of Baby Dee.

Swans blasted on stage with the opening thump of "No Words/No Thoughts", before transitioning into a bit of a reworked version of that song. Their set was overwhelmingly heavy with material from the incredible new My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky (five of the eight tracks), but the band made stops by their earliest works too ("Sex, God, Sex" from Children of God, "Your Property" from Cop, "I Crawled" from Young God EP). Moving, crushing, beautiful, and magnetic, Michael Gira and Co delivered one of my favorite performances at a space that has hosted its share of memorable moments: Neurosis, sunn o))), Sleep, and Throbbing Gristle.

Don't believe the hype though; it wasn't quite as overwhelmingly loud as you have been lead to believe... not that it matters either way. It was/is always more about electric performance and there is no doubt that Swans delivered on a Friday night on a quiet street in Brooklyn.

More pictures and video from the Brooklyn show, with the Swans setlist, below..

Continue reading "Swans played Brooklyn Masonic Temple w/ Baby Dee & Ben Frost (pics, video, setlist) "

Moritz Von Oswald Trio at Unsound 2010 (more by Greg Cristman)
Moriz Von Oswald Trio

UNSOUND had it's first NYC event over the course of ten days in February with artists like Moritz Von Oswald Trio, Aidan Baker, Carl Craig, and a ton of others. Now the Polish organizers will make their return to NYC from in April 2011 (the 6th through 10th) for a gang of musical acts as well as "workshops, discussions and experimental events". So far the lineup hasn't been announced, save for one performance:

Making its USA premiere at Unsound Festival will be a new Unsound-commissioned project by Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnasson, with "film manipulations" by Brian Eno and Nick Robertson. The ambitious project will celebrate the 50th anniversary (2011) of the publication of Krakow writer Stanislaw Lem's novel Solaris and will feature Frost / Bjarnasson collaborating with Sinfonietta Cracovia, one of Poland's leading orchestras.
Written for 29 string players, 2 percussionists, prepared piano, guitars and electronics, Music For Solaris has its beginnings in both Lem's original novel and the 1972 film adaptation by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. It is a re-imagined soundtrack for a film so still as to become almost absent, a story in sound, and an exploration of an interior cosmos. It is music written by human beings, removed and mutated by machine intelligence, then translated once more by human beings.

Integral to the project are a series of "film manipulations" by Brian Eno and Nick Robertson, drawing on moments from the original Tarkovwsky film to create a visual parallel to the music composition process. The performance will also mark the release of the album Music For Solaris.

More details about the NYC event are forthcoming, but the work will make its world premiere "at Unsound Festival on the 24th of October 2010 in Krakow Poland. It will then be recorded in Krakow, for release as an album on the Icelandic label Bedroom Community."

Ben Frost meanwhile is scheduled to open the sold-out Swans show at Brooklyn Masonic Temple on 10/8. Brian Eno is currently streaming his new album Small Craft on a Milk Sea, due in November via Warp.

by BBG

I can still feel my skin rippling from that Ben Frost gig. Those oceans of sound and vibration are overwhelming. -HallochHill

Ben Frost @ Littlefield microreview: The sound of the universe rending itself in two, as wolves howl into the cold. Gorgeous. Terrifying. -stribs

Ben Frost at Littlefield - Sept 15, 2010
(photo by l_c_m_tt_)
Ben Frost

When Sónar Chicago first announced that Ben Frost would be on its inaugural line-up, their commitment to innovative electronic music became clear. This wasn't going to be a watered-down sibling to their annual Barcelona event, rather it would present dance music and experimental sounds in equal measure. Frost was an ideal candidate for bridging this gap, as his... powerful recent releases like 2007's Theory of Machines and last year's By the Throat, ensured this would be one of the most eagerly anticipated performances of the entire festival...

Poised behind his laptop with a guitar in his hands, the image of Ben Frost on stage immediately evokes that of another guitar-laptop musician, Christian Fennesz. Instrumentation choice is where the similarities end, however, as Fennesz creates a more shimmering, ethereal reality of reserve and restraint. Frost opts instead to maximize the minimal, plotting an anxious course against the audience. With a debt owed to both Swans and Throbbing Gristle, there's little room for delicacy. -[Gapers Block]

While the review above comes from his show in Chicago as part of the Sonar festival, the tweets at the top (and the photo) come from Ben Frost's show last night (9/15) at Littlefield in Brooklyn.

The Icelandic electronic artist will do his best to pay any debt owed to Swans by playing Brooklyn Masonic Temple on 10/8 as the support act for the previously discussed Swans/Baby Dee shindig. Tickets are still available. Ben Frost will not appear at the now sold-out Swans show at Bowery Ballroom show on 10/9.

The NYC and Chicago show were a couple of a few that Ben Frost had planned for the US. Full tour dates and some video, including a live vid from Sonar, is below.

Continue reading "Ben Frost played Sonar & Littlefield, added to Swans show "

by Andrew Frisicano

this post concludes our Big Ears 2010 Festival coverage. links to the first two posts are also below...

Big Ears

"When people ask what my favorite place to play is, I tell them about this place. It's like playing inside an Easter egg," quipped My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden, gazing at the deep-sea blue dome overhead at Knoxville's Tennessee Theater. The psychedelic cavern, a mish-mash of decorative styles and colors, served as the home to the Big Ears festival's largest shows, and its final act on Sunday night, with headliner the National.

The National's presence was felt long before they took the stage - in the hand of guitarist Bryce Dessner, who co-curated the fest, in the National members' supporting gigs, playing behind Doveman, Clogs and others, and in the abundance of friends and fellow Brooklyn-ites in the Big Ears lineup. Of course, those are all connected. One look at the stage during the first song of the National's encore - "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" off their forthcoming High Violet - revealed a selection of Big Ears' top acts - Nico Muhly, St. Vincent, Shara Worden and sometimes-National members Padma Newsome and Thomas Bartlett (Sufjan came out for a song, but not during the encore), all of whom performed earlier in the weekend on their own. (Read here about days one and two)

Attendees also had the chance to opt for music outside of that circle. At Big Ears Annex, Tim Hecker and Ben Frost collaborated for a set of fragile, icy noise (they both played on their own earlier too - Hecker opened for Bang on a Can All-Stars' performance of Music For Aiports and the Books at the TN Theater). Trio Konk Pack took the same stage later for improvised noises, pops and whirs - like the soundtrack to an invisible film. The night before, one could choose between Liturgy and Gang Gang Dance - two bands at the top of their respective genres - while Terry Riley's In C filled the Tennessee Theater to its elliptical rafters.

Around the corner from the Annex at the Pilot Light, KnoEars, an unaffiliated, somewhat anti-Big Ears DIY Fest, hosted an all-day lineup that included homemade noise, Replacements-style punk and more emanating into Sunday's rainy street.

Terry Riley, selected to be this year's resident guide, performed four times over the three days - all in different settings. Other repeat acts like Thomas Bartlett (Doveman), who played with Sam Amidon, the fest's first act (interviewed here), and The National, its last, were frequent Knoxville fixtures for the three-day fest, running to their own gigs or enjoying others'.

"Mr. Riley also enjoyed a fair number of other people's shows, especially the art-song band Clogs. ("They were the hit for me," he said, beaming over breakfast on Monday morning. "Great performers, great writing. I'm going to buy their CD when I get home.")" [NY Times]
Doveman and Nico Muhly both played earlier Sunday in a set that included material from their recent Peter Pears project, the Footloose soundtrack, and their 802 tour partner Sam Amidon (who had to catch a flight to Germany). That show's headliner, St. Vincent, provided a counterpoint to their pianos with a set of songs steeped in squealing noise and leveling distortion.

More pictures and videos from the fest are below...

Continue reading "Big Ears Fest Day 3 - The National, My Brightest Diamond, St. Vincent, Tim Hecker & Ben Frost, more (pics, video, review) "